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Toys R Me :-)

I was reviewing a few of my posts and was surprised to find more knitted toys than useful items, like hats, scarves,  mittens, socks, sweaters, coats, rugs, afghans, potholders.  You know, those items you use again and again, and serve a function – like keeping you warm, helping in the kitchen, wiping your shoes to avoid tracking outside debris in, decorating your office or home.  But nooooooo, I knit things like poodles and penguins and kittens, and cyclops-oh my!.  Every now and again, a knitted hat with mother-of-pearl buttons appears, but the number of items in the useful category is rare.  <Sigh>  Oh well, at least I chuckle every time I see the kitten with the bugged out yellow eyes, or when I see CJ III, the knitted poodle, staring at me. So, here’s  a round-up of TOYS R ME since I started this Artsy Knitter blog :

climbing-kitten   (I’m watching you!)


                                                     (cj III, aka cowboy junior III)


                                                                     (Mr. Frosty)


                                                                  (finger puppies)


          (the Grass Family: bermuda, zoysia, and fescue – yes, in this order)


                                                                (baby penguin)


                                                      (Polyphemus – the cyclops)


                          (2008 U.S. presidental candidates: McCain and Obama)



                                                          (the scheming kittens)



Another knitted toy – baby penguin


Just the other day, I was taking a walk and came upon a pile of granite along the side of  the walk.  I was minding my own business, when a slight rustling caught the corner of my right eye.  So, I turned to see what or who was trying to catch my attention.  And peering out from the shelter of the rocks was this little baby penguin…she couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old.  I wondered where the parental units were as adult penguins are known to be doting parents.  

Here’s a few interesting facts about penguins.  All penguins, male and female, share the incubation duties, with the exception of the Emperor Penguin.  All penguins are countershaded for camouflage, i.e., they have a white underside and a dark upper side.  A predator looking up from below (such as an orca, leopard seal or shark) has difficulty distinguishing between a white penguin belly and the reflective water surace.  The dark, usually black, plumage on their backs camouflages them from above.

Penguins either waddle on their feet or slide on their bellies across the snow, a movement called “tobogganing”, which conserves energy while moving quickly. They also jump with both feet together if they want to move more quickly or cross steep or rocky terrain. 

When mothers lose a chick, they sometimes attempt to “steal” another mother’s chick, usually unsuccessfully as other females in the vicinity assist the defending mother in keeping her chick. In some species, such as Emperor Penguins, young penguins assemble in large groups called crèches.

The baby penguin pattern is from an old 1981 book, which I will post in a few days. 

I’m going now, and hope the quote below brings a chuckle out of you 🙂


A beanie for all seasons :-)

I found the Cecily Beanie pattern on the internet and knitted my version of it – see below.  The pattern is very basic, easy and quick ,and serves as a blank canvas to alot of your creative inspirations and ideas.  Sew on mother-of-pearl buttons in random style, silk flowers, embroidery, colorful buttons, rhinestones, lace, and many, many other types of embellishments.  Knit and embellish it to fit your style and personality!

The type of yarn used to knit your beanie can signify fall-winter, spring and summer.  Use wool blends for fall/winter, cotton blends or microspun fibers for spring and summer.  A beanie for spring AND summer is on my knitting projects list, which is already tooooo long – oh well!


(Model: Rachel Bechtal)

Click here for the Cecily Beanie pattern.  Let me know if the link no longer works, and I’ll email it to you.   Happy knitting!:-)

rhinestones star-pearl-buttonsmother-of-pearl-buttons

CJ, the knitted poodle…

Remember a few posts ago, I was working on a knitted version of my chocolate standard poodle, CJ (aka Cowboy Junior)?   Well. he’s doooooone!   And I’ve named it CJ III.   Below are photos of the two CJs – will the REAL CJ please stand up for a treat! 

Btw, the yarn used is Lionbrand Homespun Earth, which amazingly is very close to the color and feel of the real CJ’s hair.



The knitted poodle pattern is from Vintage Purls.  Once you’ve linked to Vintage Purls, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the poodle pattern.  The pattern is from 1951, and it calls for double strands of wool throughout the project.  But that was 1951; they didn’t have all the variety of yarns we do today, so I use a single strand of  bulky Lionbrand Homspun Earth which is very soft and fluffy to the touch.  Of course, if you want a little poodle, use a single strand of worsted weight or sports yarn.  I didn’t follow the pattern completely; I used buttons for the eyes, and wound the yarn 3 times to make the looped fabric.  Have fun knitting your own poodle 🙂

Yarn Therapy and Cancer


Earlier this year, I was browsing through a knitting magazine (Interweave Knits) and read a short article on how crocheting helped one nurse through her cancer treatment.  Was it the crocheting or working with yarn that helped in the healing process?  Or maybe it was the actual crafting of something from a ball of yarn/string?  Well, it’s actually all of these.  By engaging in the creative process, an area deep in the brain called the amygdala is stimulated to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters and hormones, thereby, reducing pain, promoting sensations of pleasure and comfort, bonding, and relaxation.  This relaxed state, then, triggers the immune system to function more efficiently.   

Studies have shown that people who are ill engaged in the creative process ,  have lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and decreased need for pain medication.  For more information on creativity and healing, visit my other blog titled “Creativity in Healthcare“.  There’s alot of information there, so check it out.

And here’s the story from Interweave Knits (Spring) I mentioned a few paragraphs ago…

Boredom of seemingly enless hours of chemotherapy is almost as bad as the accompanying nausea and weaknessgrannysquares, according to one nurse diagnosed with cancer. “I couldn’t stand just sitting there doing nothing for hours on end…it was horrible.”  She took comfort with string and hook – crocheting afghan squares.  For this nurse, crocheting gave her a sense of normalcy, “I had something productive to do again, and when I got caught up manipulating the yarn, I could forget where I was and what I was really doing there.”  As her chemotherapy went on, her pile of afghan squares grew larger and she began feeling better.  “As the blanket got bigger, I got stronger…the chemo was doing its work and I was doing mine.” (Nurse undergoing chemotherapy in Hatboro, PA. Interweave Spring 2008; 13(1):24.

What I’m working on right now? 

cjA replica of my chocolate standard poodle, CJ, aka. Cowboy Junior.  Here’s a picture of the real C.J.   Of course, the knitted toy version is much smaller, more obedient, doesn’t stamp his front paws when he doesn’t get his way, and generally quieter. 


The yarn I’m using is Lionbrand Homespun Earth.